By Jack Brewer, For The Miami Student
The Miami University men’s basketball team travels to the University at Buffalo for a rematch between conference foes, Buffalo came away with the win 79-72 over the RedHawks in Millett Hall Jan. 7.
The RedHawks (6-10, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) are coming off a 105-77 loss to Central Michigan University. Miami shot 54 percent from the field, but CMU shot 68.6 percent and a blistering 70.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Chippewas hit 19 3-pointers.
Before the CMU game, Miami won a thriller against Eastern Michigan in which they overcame a 25-point deficit to force overtime, and then battled for the win in overtime.
After cutting into the deficit the entire second half against EMU, junior guard Eric Washington made a fade away three-pointer to cut the lead to two with 11 seconds left on the clock. After a free throw miss on the other end, Washington came down the court and hit another three-pointer to force overtime. The RedHawks went on to outlast Eastern Michigan 82-81.
“Our guys just sort of kept coming, and kept coming, and then two big shots from Eric,” Miami head coach John Cooper said. “In order for us to get there we had two tough shots and he made them both. The odds of that happening are slim to none, but he did.”
The Bulls (11-4, 2-1 MAC) are viewed as one of the powerhouse teams in MAC, and are coming off a win over Northern Illinois University.
The Bulls had five different players put up double digit points. Junior forward Justin Moss led the way with 18 points. Buffalo shot 50 percent from the field.
Free throws have been a problem for the RedHawks at times this season, and Cooper believes free throws are what help his team get over the hump.
“One of the things that we were able to do was make free throws down the stretch of the game against Eastern Michigan,” Cooper said.
In the first matchup between Miami and Buffalo, Moss torched the RedHawks for 23 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 8 of 15 from the field. The real difference maker in that contest was Buffalo making it to the free throw line for 32 attempts, hitting 25 of them, whereas the RedHawks had just 19 attempts, making a mere eight of them.
Earlier this season, Buffalo faced off against very stiff competition including national powerhouses University of Kentucky and University of Wisconsin. Against Kentucky, the Bulls led at halftime before faltering in the second half to the elite defense of the Wildcats. They also led at halftime against Wisconsin before once again running out of steam in the second half. Despite losing both of those games, they were praised for their impressive efforts against two of the best teams in the country.
Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Arena in Buffalo.